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Not For Profit Nursing Homes Have The Edge

August 7, 2009

According to a review of dozens of studies on the quality of care received in nursing homes in the United States and Canada, published in this week’s edition of the BMJ (British Medical Journal), in the majority of cases, not-for-profit nursing homes are exceeded not-profit institutions on the four most often reported quality measures, notably staff to patient ratio (including both the caliber of the staff and the hours spent with patients) and prevalence of pressure ulcers, which can be an indicator of neglect. Of the hundreds of studies on the topic, reviewers culled the list down to 82 and found that 40 studies favored the non-profits, 3, the for-profits and the rest had less consistent findings. The authors noted that additional work is needed to compare the costs between these types of facilities and to evaluate the consistency of these findings outside of the United States and Canada. “Although we have extensively evaluated the literature comparing quality of care in for-profit, charitable organization owned and government owned nursing homes, theavailable studies did not allow comparison of the possible impact of factors such as subcategory of for-profit ownership (for example, chain vs. non-chain, investor vs. small business ownership, municipality vs. federal government ownership),” they wrote, adding, “Nursing home management companies further complicate the relation between ownershipand quality of care. These are all important areas that warrantfurther research.”